James “Doc” McKeown, RIP

The Central Catholic/Bishop O’Reilly community lost a legend this week. Throughout his fifty-two year career that began at West Side Central Catholic, continued through the transition to Bishop O’Reilly, and concluded with his retirement from Holy Redeemer last year, James McKeown touched countless lives.

Doc devoted his life to teaching, and now leaves behind a legacy of thousands of students, some of whom credit him with their life-long love of history or even their decision to become teachers themselves.

Many of his students knew him as “Doc.” It was a fitting nickname, not only because of his PhD. in history from Penn State, but also because he truly was a fount of knowledge about American history, finance, and psychology. Doc was well known for lectures peppered with humor and of course his recounting of the illustrious deeds of Return J. Meigs, the subject of his doctoral dissertation. Some of his stories were legendary. Just ask former students about the bacon dance!

A parishioner of the former Holy Savior Church in Wilkes-Barre’s East End, Doc was proud of the church’s history, especially the relationship between Father Curran and President Theodore Roosevelt, and loved inspiring his students to learn more about local history.

Doc mentored countless National History Day projects, entered students in the state stock market game, hosted Investment Club meetings, and was famous for encouraging his seniors to register to vote. He devoted his life to teaching, and now leaves behind a legacy of thousands of students, some of whom credit him with their life-long love of history or even their decision to become teachers themselves. Well done, Doc. May God now grant you eternal rest in the radiance of His light.

Visitation will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 16, 2021 at McLaughlin’s, 142 S. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre. A funeral Mass will be offered at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, September 17, 2021 at the Parish of St. Andre Bessette (St. Stanislaus Church) 668 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre.

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